Hard-line incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was heading for a surprise landslide with nearly 80% of votes counted in Iran's stormy presidential elections, the Interior Ministry has said. But his pro-reform rival countered that he was the clear victor and accused authorities of fraud. Ahmadinejad's main challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, is backed by a growing youth-oriented movement. A large turnout at the polls had boosted victory hopes for Mousavi supporters.
At a press conference around midnight, Mousavi declared himself "definitely the winner" based on "all indications from all over Iran." He suggested the reformist camp would stand up to challenge the results. Before dawn, Tehran's streets were deserted, but there were worries of protests by Mousavi supporters if he is declared the loser. Bringing any showdown into the streets would certainly face a swift backlash from security forces.